2010 Watch: Tom Coburn, the Sequel

“The American people lose when we don’t have good debates. When we have great debates, they win, no matter what the outcome is, because they become informed voters and can make better decisions.” – Sen. Tom Coburn

There’s a great profile on Tom Coburn up on the DC Examiner. He’s lately been becoming my favourite Senator (yes, as sad and pathetic as that sounds, I have a favourite Senator), and this definitely cemented some of the reasons why.

I found it fascinating just how much his own party wasn’t crazy aboot him even running for senator in the first place, which just endears me towards him more. I know John McCain likes to joke around that Coburn has replaced him as the senates new “Miss Congeniality,” but I didn’t realize it was this bad…

This is Coburn’s brand of bipartisanship: He irritates Republicans as much as he irritates Democrats. During his three terms in the House, Coburn sparred with the House Republican leadership, which probably spurred the GOP-led House ethics investigation into Coburn’s medical practice. Four years after Coburn left the House, when he announced he would run for Oklahoma’s open Senate seat in 2004, the upper chamber’s GOP leadership was not enthusiastic.

Coburn’s opponent in the Republican primary, Oklahoma City Mayor Kirk Humphreys, saw his coffers balloon with cash from sitting GOP senators. The political action committees of the top three Senate Republican leaders all gave to Humphreys, and 13 Republican senators in all gave Humphreys more than $50,000. Coburn got no leadership money, and before winning the primary, he pulled in only $25,000 from his future colleagues, most of that in the final weeks of the primary campaign, when a Coburn victory was all but certain.

I also never realized that he’s only served one term, and started in the senate with now President Obama. Coburn always seemed like the kind of guy who has been there for ever.

Hopefully we at least have him for another six years.

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